* This post has been written by our previous Social Media Manager. *
Hey everyone! It’s been a while.
This month’s blog post is dedicated to battling ‘imposter syndrome’ – a psychological ‘phenomenon’ in which the person involved begins to doubt themselves and reconsider what they’ve gone through. I confess that I’m often guilty of this pattern of thinking. As someone diagnosed as being on level 1 of the autistic spectrum, I feel like I shouldn’t be advocating or speaking up for autistic people. Also, as an incredibly anxious person, this persistently keeps me quiet and from wanting to realise my full potential.
Despite my autism not being a barrier to living a fully independent life, I feel like I shouldn’t be identifying on the spectrum because I don’t really ‘belong’ on it. It’s just level 1, after all. So then why do I feel like an imposter? Well, as an autistic person, I absolutely despise routines. I can’t keep to one. It stresses me out just as much as the opposite probably does for other autistic people. I can also tolerate loud noises and my sensory overload isn’t as bad. I can deal with change to an extent. Of course, I wouldn’t speak on behalf of autistic people who need support with their everyday lives – nor would I want to.
Like many others with mild physical or mental disabilities, I begin downplaying my experiences and having self-deprecating thoughts which make you doubt where your place is within the community. Such questions asked are:
“Am I the right person to be an advocate?”
“Have I earned the right to speak about this?”
“Am I just a fraud?”
When I was diagnosed on February 11th this year as being autistic, a lot of puzzle pieces finally fitted into place. It finally made sense why I behaved the way I do most of the time, and why autism isn’t very visible unless I’m doing certain things or movements. Yet every other day, I still think I was given the wrong diagnosis and that I’m not autistic.
The truth of the matter is that believing you’re an imposter for having a mild disability doesn’t help anyone. You’re equally making your step in a world that isn’t very accessible, even for autistic people. It doesn’t matter how good you’ve got it – your experience is just as valid.
So, what is the point of this post? It’s to remind you that your own experiences dealing with your disability, no matter how mild or severe it may be, are unique. It doesn’t mean you’re exaggerating it. You have as much a voice as anyone within the relevant community. Your brain is lying to you. Shut the door on these invasive thoughts and elevate your voice as loud as you want.